- Components of Keyword AAA
- Enquiries about Keyword AAA
- Whole of government arrangements
- Who uses Keyword AAA
In 1995, NSW State Archives and Records released Keyword AAA, a keyword thesaurus of general terms based on the keyword classification method. It covers terminology common to most organisations. This includes terms derived from common functions and activities, such as PERSONNEL and FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT.
It is important to note that Keyword AAA is not designed to cover all of the records of an organisation. It should be used in conjunction with a thesaurus of functional terms developed by the organisation or by a consultant. A thesaurus of functional terms covers terminology relating to the organisation's unique or core business functions and activities. Keyword AAA and the thesaurus of functional terms are merged to provide comprehensive controlled vocabulary coverage.
More information on this process is available in Developing and implementing a keyword thesaurus.
Keywords (KW) represent the functions of an organisation. Keywords are identified in hard copy versions of Keyword AAA in large UPPER CASE with the word keyword at the end of the term line. A scope note and narrower terms are listed below each entry. Keywords must always be the first element in a file title.
Activity descriptors are identified in hard copy versions of Keyword AAA by UPPER CASE with the word activity descriptor at the end of the term line. They appear as narrower terms of keywords and broader terms of subject descriptors in the software. The activity descriptor reflects the activities performed within the function that is represented by the keyword.
A keyword is followed by one activity descriptor (AD). Only keywords and activity descriptors that are linked in the thesaurus and Classification Guide should be used together.
Subject descriptors are identified in hard copy versions of Keyword AAA by Mixed Lower Case with the words subject descriptor at the end of the term line. Subject descriptors are narrower terms of activity descriptors and further define the subject content of the activities.
Terms that describe the subject of the activity descriptor are listed in the Classification Guide. They are also included in the alphabetical listing in the body of the thesaurus.
The subject descriptors listed are the ones most likely to be associated with activity descriptors they are linked to. However, subject descriptors can be free floating, that is, they can be used with any activity descriptor deemed appropriate, not just those they are linked to. In addition, more than one subject descriptor can be added to a file title if desired.
The subject descriptors listed are not comprehensive and are offered as a guide only. Adding all subjects that could be contemplated in government, and all their non preferred terms, would make the thesaurus too large to be useable. If subject descriptors are insufficient, organisations might consider adding their own subject descriptors, or free text may be used additionally or alternatively as is appropriate.
Free text terms are not listed in the thesaurus. Free text cannot be used to replace either keywords or activity descriptors. However, it can be used instead of or in addition to subject descriptors. Generally, free text includes names, words, actions or dates.
Free text it should ideally be short and concise. It is often these elements that people will recall when they wish to search for a file so choose terms that will aid retrieval.
Administrators should consider whether their agencies require additional terms to be added to their merged thesauri at the subject descriptor level to prevent staff assigning inadequate free text terms that may adversely affect retrieval.
Scope notes provide unique definitions of terms and directions on how to use them. They provide a consistent approach and discourage personal interpretations of the same term by different people across the organisation.
Broader terms are concepts having wider meanings. In Keyword AAA, keywords are broader terms than activity descriptors, and activity descriptors are broader terms than subject descriptors.
Narrower terms are concepts having more specific meanings. Narrower terms break down a broader concept to more specific aspects of that concept. In Keyword AAA activity descriptors are narrower terms to keywords and subject descriptors are narrower terms to activity descriptors.
Keywords and activity descriptors have a scope note and narrower terms listed below each entry.
Non-preferred terms are identified in the hard copy of Keyword AAA by italics (except when listed under a term) with the word non-preferred term at the end of the term line. They are synonyms replaced by authorised or preferred terms. The USE reference indicates the preferred term. Non-preferred terms were formerly called forbidden terms.
Related terms bear a close relationship in meaning to the other terms. Related subject descriptors may be used additionally to subject descriptors already selected. Alternatively, the scope notes of related terms may be read to see if they are a more accurate keyword or descriptor to use.
Acronyms are pronounceable names made from a series of initial letters or parts of words. For example, UNESCO is the acronym for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. Abbreviations are shortened or contracted words such as NSW for New South Wales.
In Keyword AAA acronyms and abbreviations are generally non-preferred terms.The full term should be used. This is because acronyms and abbreviations change at a rapid pace. More importantly their meaning is obscured to all but those 'in the know.' They can be alienating for those not aware of their meaning and may ultimately be meaningless in reflecting the content and context of the record in the file title.
In cases where the acronym or abbreviation has become widely recognised, for example LAN or WAN, the acronym may be used. These are identified in the thesaurus with permitted acronym at the end of the scope note. When an acronym is not permitted, it may be added to the end of the full version of the term (in brackets) to facilitate searching.
Parenthetical qualifiers are used to qualify or specify the context of an entry in order to remove ambiguity. In the case of homographs (example below) only one term is a preferred term, the other(s) are non-preferred terms, distinguished by the USE reference directing the user to a preferred term.
If you have any questions about Keyword AAA, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are a number of whole of government arrangements which provide easy access to Keyword AAA. If your agency is in another state, territory, or the Commonwealth Government, please contact the archives/records authority in your state or territory:
|Australian Government agencies||National Archives of Australia at email@example.com|
|Queensland Government agencies||Queensland State Archives at firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Northern Territory Government agencies||Northern Territory Records Service at email@example.com|
|Tasmanian Government agencies||Tasmanian Archives & Heritage Office at firstname.lastname@example.org|
|South Australian Government agencies||State Records of South Australia at email@example.com|
Organisations that use Keyword AAA include:
Revised June 2018 / Updated June 2019 / Updated August 2020